Opthalmologist on a chip: Fully integrated microfluidic tear osmolality and protein biomarker quantification for dry eye stratification
Ph.D. Candidate, Professor Amy Herr’s Lab, UC Berkeley
Human tear film fluid offers tremendous potential as a non-invasive diagnostic fluid. However, the use of tear fluid in diagnostic medicine is limited owing to non-standardized collection methodologies and low volume availability. I will present a first-reported microfluidic tear fluid biomarker assay which will serve as a foundation for both rapid biomarker validation and point-of-care ocular diagnostics. Our microfluidic approach demonstrates multiplexed quantitation of both tear fluid osmolality and lactoferrin (Lf) protein concentration in microliter quantities of human tear fluid from healthy and Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) patients. Lf is a tear-specific biomarker for SS, a serious systemic autoimmune disease currently diagnosed through rudimentary tear volume, ocular surface chemistry measurements and an invasive lip biopsy. Meanwhile, tear osmolality is a putative marker of overall dry eye disease severity and can provide a quantitative assessment for patient-specific treatment. Taken in sum, this work details important steps toward (1) expanding the set of proteins quantified by electrophoretic immunoassays to encompass a wider range of isoelectric points than has been reported, (2) creating a first-in-kind translatable assay with clinical relevance to SS and dry eye diagnostics, and (3) expanding the analytical toolkit available for rapid biochemical measurements in tears, as is relevant to the advancement of basic research and clinical medicine.
Kelly Karns is a Ph.D. Candidate in Professor Amy Herr’s lab. She received a B.S. in Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering from Yale in 2007 and an MS in Bioscience Enterprise in 2008 before joining the Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley/UCSF. She is currently working to miniaturize traditional laboratory biochemical analysis techniques for applications requiring the use of small sample volumes.
About the Point-of-Care Diagnostics Idea Lab
The Point-of-Care Diagnostics (POCDx) Idea Lab was created as a forum for graduate students who are working in the areas of medical diagnostics and global health to discuss topics relevant to their research. Students working in the areas of engineering, science, policy, and healthcare are encouraged to attend. The bi-weekly meetings will be informal and will usually include one or two short presentations by graduate students, faculty, or other outside speakers affiliated with POCDx.
This video was originally recorded on October 25th, 2011 in 621 Stanley Hall, UC Berkeley